Oregon turned to the defensive end to get out in transition and jump-start its offense in the season opener against Evansville.

The Panthers shook off a slow start and cruised to a 62-38 victory over the Blue Devils on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Oregon High School.

“We know we have the ability to score, but this group strives to be great on the other end,” Oregon coach Adam Wamsley said. “I really commend our communication. We talked, helped and rebounded as well as we possibly could.”

Both teams struggled with turnovers early on. Carleigh Roberts split a pair of free throws to get the Panthers on the board with 14:52 left in the first half, and Izzie Peterson recorded Oregon’s first field goal at the 12:40 mark with her team trailing 7-3.

Peterson’s layup was the beginning of a 14-0 run.

“We’re really stressing defense in practice since we’re small,” she said. “We’re quicker than a lot of teams, and we need to get stops. That leads to points in transition.”

University of Illinois-Springfield recruit Liz Uhl followed with a steal and layup, and Megan Bloyer knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 7. Jaelyn Nedelcoff made a layup in transition to give Oregon the lead for good with 9:40 left in the first half.

Kaitlyn Schimpf drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner, Uhl hit a jumper from the right corner, and Peterson split a pair of free throws to cap the run.

“Everyone just needed to settle down. We knew we’d be fine,” Uhl said. “Once we started scoring a little more, that got our confidence up, and we rolled after that.”

Oregon scored seven points in 15 seconds to go up 25-10 with 4:17 left in the opening half. Schimpf canned another 3 from the left corner, Uhl recorded a three-point play off a steal by Schimpf, and Schimpf made a layup off a pass in transition by Uhl.

Uhl scored 13 of her game-high 16 points in the first half, and Schimpf finished with eight first-half points.

Emily Statz helped the Panthers build onto their 37-15 halftime lead with six of her team’s first nine points in the second half. Statz scored all nine of her points in the final 18 minutes.

Oregon used a 7-2 run midway through the second half to go up 56-24. Bloyer recorded a three-point play, and Peterson and Uhl each added a layup.

Peterson finished with 10 points, and Bloyer chipped in seven.

Rachel Banks scored all of her team-high 15 points in the second half for Evansville. Rachel Tofte added eight points.

Lake Mills 51, Oregon 46

The Panthers dropped a nonconference road game to the L-Cats on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Oregon (1-1) trailed 22-18 at the half and couldn’t overcome the deficit.

Uhl recorded 11 points and three rebounds. Peterson also had 11 points, and Roberts added nine points. Statz chipped in seven points and seven rebounds. Schimpf had five points, five rebounds and five assists.

Lake Mills’ Taylor Roughen posted game highs in points (17) and rebounds (10).